Soprano sax’s sizzling sound

Red Dirt Skinners.

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As Radiohead rocked Glastonbury soprano sax specialist Sarah Skinner rolled into Campbeltown.

Her husband Rob forms the guitar playing other half of Sussex two-piece folk/roots/blues combo, of Red Dirt Skinners.

The pair gave a cleverly created stadium sound rendition of hits from their five albums to an intimate audience in the Ardshiel’s Arran lounge.

Currently on their fifth Scottish tour fresh from a 20-date Canadian outing Skinners played predominently their own music with a few choice covers.

They were in good company with their encore, Hot Tamales (They’re Red Hot), originally recorded in 1935 by Robert Johnson and covered by Eric Clapton among others.

As well as giving Sarah, British Blues instrumentalist of the year 2014, a great sax solo, it includes the memorable line: ‘I’ve got a girl she’s long and tall, sleeps in the kitchen with her feet in the hall.’

Played at the start of the set it may have given clues to their own songs’ lyrics, such as in Brown’s Ferry Blues: ‘I don’t smoke and I don’t chew and I don’t go with girls who do.’

The pair interspersed performances with the tales behind the songs often about characters met on their travels particularly for the current album ‘Behind the Wheel.’

Strangely it was a burglary at their rented house which proved the vital spark needed to lift the Skinners from near obscurity playing bars and cafés to its current incarnation.

Sarah said the rage insipired their second album written in a week: ‘When I get angry I write songs.’

Rob added: ‘We’d like to thank that burglar as the album made enough money to put down a deposit on our own house. We got away from the worst slum landlord in southern England.’

Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb was a wonderful cover in the set dedicated to a drunk, named Frank, who kept requesting the number without success at a previous gig, until he was taken home by the barman.

Both said they loved the connection with the Campbeltown audience, passed round a mailing list for email addresses and promised to ask Ardshiel proprietor Flora Grant to rebook the Skinners.